Death of newborn to be investigated

The incident took place on January 6 at the mother and child facility.

A family was shattered following a child’s death at the Newcastle Provincial Hospital.

Read: Bomb Squad searches Newcastle Provincial Hospital

Sphilile Hadebe said she was unable to sleep at night, since her grandson passed away shortly after birth on January 6.

“My child (Ntombenhle Nkosi) gave birth at around 4am. The staff said both she and the child were fine.”

Mrs Hadebe said the staff realised something was wrong when Ntombenhle’s child began to change colour, and called for urgent X-rays.

It was discovered that mother and child had internal bleeding.

When Mrs Hadebe arrived at the hospital, she was informed by a member of staff Ntombenhle’s child was not likely to survive.

However, she said there was no answer as to what the problem was.

Eventually Ntombenhle was sent into theatre for surgery, where her womb was removed and she received stitches.

The child passed away afterwards.

“I’m still not sure what happened, and no doctor has helped me,” said a distraught Mrs Hadebe.

This case was brought to the attention to management of the hospital, the provincial Department of Health

and DA Health Member of the Provincial Legislature, Dr Imran Keeka.

Dr Keeka was first to respond on Tuesday afternoon.

He said birth and delivery in some instances, could be complicated and required specialise intervention.

In this regard, Dr Keeka called the hospital greatly lacking.

“It only has one full time specialist obstetrician and only one specialise paediatrician. The situation sounds even worse when I was informed gynaecologists fly in from Pietermaritzburg to perform operations.”

Dr Keeka said it was impossible to comment on the merits of care or lack thereof without the exact details, but said he would make a request for the Ombudsman to investigate further.

He was hopeful the investigation would give the family answers and closure.

“If there is any indication of negligence, the parents must reserve their legal rights in this instance, even without waiting to hear from the Department of Health. Hospitals must be a place of care and hope, not where people go to suffer, encounter rude and abusive staff, and die.”

Dr Keeka concluded by extending sincere condolences to the parents and family on behalf of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We wish the mother a speedy recovery.”

On Wednesday morning, spokesman for the KZN Department of Health, Sam Mkhwanazi provided a response to this case.

“Without prejudice, the Department would like to state the passing away of any individual(s) is a painful experience. To this end, the Department would like to express condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

Regarding the condition and management of the patient while under care of a public health facility, Mr Mkhwanazi said the Department could not discuss information with a third party as per the law.

“However, the Department can confirm there will be continuous engagement between management of the hospital and the family.”

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Bruce Douglas
Journalist

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